Coney Island — home of legendary knishes, Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs, and that historic roller coaster — is rich with Jewish spirit.
A similar thing could be said of the Brooklyn band The Shondes, who so identify with the oceanfront Brooklyn district that they recorded a paean to it for their album, “Searchlights.” (Check out track 9, “Coney Island Tonight.”) With their exuberant violin-driven rock ‘n roll, The Shondes have drawn comparisons to Sleater-Kinney, The Go-Gos, and Bruce Springsteen. And when the four band members take to the stage they’re as powerful as a big ensemble.
The Shondes bring an ineffable Yiddish spirit to their tunes that goes deeper than just their name (which means “shame” in Yiddish, á la “It’s a shonde for the goyim”). Maybe it’s in Elijah Oberman’s violin – the way it seems to weep and laugh all in the same breath. Or maybe it’s in Louisa Solomon’s commanding lead vocals – so rich a voice it seems charged with the emotions of generations. Whatever the case, The Shondes are making breathtaking music made of deeply unexpected musical ingredients and even deeper heart.
The Shondes’ Searchlights came out in 2011 and they’re working on their next album.